I Am An Asian Man And I Am Noticing a Disturbing Trend
Are these satirical pieces? Repressed self-hatred? The lingering effects of colonialism (whoa, that escalated quickly)? In the past 3 weeks I’ve noticed 3 articles by 3 different Asian American female writers that have gone viral back to back to back:
- I’M AN ASIAN WOMAN AND I REFUSE TO EVER DATE AN ASIAN MAN
- I’m Half-Korean And My Husband Makes Racist Asian Comments, But I’m Okay With It
- I AM AN ASIAN WOMAN AND I THINK ASIAN BOYFRIENDS ARE SUPERIOR (WELL, MINE IS ANYWAY)
I’m an Asian girl. I don’t date Asian guys. Yep, I’m one of those that date lots and lots of (mostly, but not always) white guys. Why? It’s simple: I’m a racist. Yep, I said it.
My next two boyfriends had never dated an Asian chick before, so I think it was more of a “new flavor” kind of thing for them. My role was to prove that not all Asian girls are crazy like their friends had told them. But I failed at debunking that stereotype when I got angry and my Kim Jong-Il temper was revealed.
I’m an Asian woman, and I also grew up with a self-loathing attitude of my own race. That’s why I fled to New York for college. I was sick of the conservative attitudes that seemingly plagued my predominantly Asian community in southern California. Everyone seemed to be set on being a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or getting placed in some prestigious business school.
Allow me to believe in the power of 3s: In the last 3 weeks I’ve noticed 3 online controversies penned by 3 separate Asian American women. Holy crap. How can you not notice something going on here?
There are a couple of things to notice: all the writers are young, Asian American women. And all the writers begin with titles as “grabbers”: When you title your article, “I Am A…” and couple it with “…And so and so [ironic statement],” you’re hitting me over the head that you’re going for shock value (I’ve even tried to do that myself with this post). So congratulations, you’ve done that much. But what were you really going for?
I posit to ask a few questions:
- Is this a well-coordinated Asian American campaign to highlight the the predominant self-hating identity issues that Asian American youth continue to face today?
- Is this a random series of events that begs the nation’s attention to the internalized effects of colonialism, Tiger mom parenting, high school bullying, cultural pressures at home, or the pressures of a misogynistic and racist media?
- Is it a writer’s response to a superior (or the writer herself) compelling one to “get as many hits to our publication/blog as you can! And pull the race card if you have to!”
- Is it a simple trend, where one article going viral would inspire two more to follow in its footsteps?
Or are these blog posts truth? Are the loudest, most viral articles of the past month that have been written by Asian American women truly representative of the very demographic their articles are seemingly trying to strike a presence in? In other words, do these articles represent a real part of what it means to be an Asian American today?
So what if one of you say, “but it’s freedom of speech. Let them say it.” So be it. In fact, I like some of the discussions these articles can generate (seeing a sliver of optimism in everything). But remember we’re still working with the disturbing statistic that Asian American women remain to be one of the highest-risk demographic for suicide; these articles — whether they’re for real or they’re meant for shock — also have the potential for harm. They can exacerbate already-existing issues of self-identity, self-racism, and self-hatred. When we grow up in a country that still hints to us “we don’t really look American,” these articles may not really help build confidence in an uninitiated reader that hasn’t either gained the experience, the fortitude, or the inquisitive/critical thinking ability to question an article’s meaning behind its face value. A reader might take it for what it is, internalize it, agree with it, and to some extent, be more ashamed of who they are.
And to cast a light on the flip side: Where are the ‘shock jocks’ among Asian American male bloggers? Why haven’t we seen a trend among that demographic? I’m not advocating for it, I’m just compelled to wonder whether we are giving into our own stereotypes…does one of the articles (#3: I AM AN ASIAN WOMAN AND I THINK ASIAN BOYFRIENDS ARE SUPERIOR) actually strike some kind of revelatory, observational truth among the differences in the relative outspokenness between Asian American women and men? (Me: F-ck that)
Or am I generalizing too much here? Think about it. And for the writers, consider the power in your words — good and bad.
With that said, the word is already out for article #1; give it a few days of controversy and you’ll get a confession: “I’m an Asian Woman and I Refuse to Date an Asian Man”: Is the Author an Internet Troll or Agent Provocateur? The author of that article revealed:
She says she has many Asian American male friends; has dated them and would date them again: ‘Just for the record, the piece doesn’t reflect how I personally feel about Asians and Asian men.’ But, pushed by her editor at xoJane, Mandy Stadtmiller, An wanted to write a piece that disrupted the way racism is discussed in mainstream media. ‘The nuances of misogyny, how women are framed in society and its subtle impacts, are finally being discussed,’ she says. ‘And I think that sort of nuance doesn’t exist when it comes to the discussion of race….The race conversation is basically, is ‘XYZ’ racist or not, and racism works in much more subtle ways than that.
Time will tell for the other two.